The Challenge USA Episode 7 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
8 min readAug 18, 2022

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Episode 7 of The Challenge USA is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the 7th episode.

If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.

10 43,000 Reasons To Leave

We get so used to career Challenge competitors or influencers whose entire life is waiting for the call to come on the show, where when someone has actual responsibilities, it’s a bit jarring. Leo runs multiple businesses/restaurants where he has employees who rely on him on top of his own earnings at stake. Losing 43k dollars in one weekend is a big fucking deal — I’m shocked he got persuaded into staying. Some people on Reality TV would have gone home if they got told they lost 43k Instagram followers.

9 The Tyson & Sarah Pairing Was Underwhelming

I’ve been gearing up for the potential Tyson & Sarah partnership since he threw her into elimination, and boy, did it underserve in terms of entertainment. They didn’t get into a big fight, were middling in the challenge, and when it came to the politics, Tyson actively tried to go under the radar/make as little noise as possible. Again, it’s my fault for being conditioned to the MTV show where I was hoping for more explosiveness. I had to wake up and realize nobody’s suitcase is getting thrown in a pool; hell, production won’t even put water in the jacuzzi!

8 Mario Kart Dreams Come True

The daily challenge was a real-life version of the Mario Kart Battle Mode. It made me endlessly happy. My only nitpick is that the players got four balloons instead of the traditional three balloons. Maybe they didn’t want to get hit by a lawsuit from Nintendo.

Some key notes:

  • Danny being a Ricky Bobby/Talladega Nights fan is oddly fitting.
  • Kiki is a bad driver, according to Danny, showing that no human is perfect.
  • Kyra did not know what Neutral on a car is.
  • Enzo finished in the Bottom 3 for the third straight week.
  • For the 7th consecutive week, Sarah fails to finish in the Top 3 during a daily challenge.
  • Ben & Desi and Danny & Justine performed well.

7 I Would Feel Safe On Any Plane With Cayla On It

By day, Cayla works as a flight attendant where her job is to give clear directions and remain observant of the needs of passengers so that everyone can have the clearest and most enjoyable voyage possible. She took over this daily challenge and was quickly in command, veering Dom in the best directions possible. Cayla’s experience traveling and navigating on the Amazing Race also likely came in handy as you often have to make rapid decisions on the show when choosing how to traverse foreign territories. It was an impressive performance and showed why Cayla’s made it past the halfway point in the game despite being the only Amazing Race female.

Congrats to Dom for finally pulling off a daily challenge win as well.

6 Alyssa Refuses To Take A Swing

I understand Alyssa didn’t want to throw a name out of fear her words might get turned against her. At the same time, she’s in elimination, and the numbers are narrowing down, so you must take some shots.

Alyssa should have thrown David & Cashay under the bus and lobbied for them as her and Leo’s elimination opponents. David & Cashay were the weakest pair on paper, Dom’s relationship with Cashay isn’t great, and David threw in Alyssa’s #1 ally (Derek) last week. It was a no-brainer move, yet Alyssa refused to play the game actively.

I’ve liked Alyssa a lot this season, and she’s performed above average in daily challenges all season; however, an episode like this only proves Xavier & Tiffany’s thoughts about her where she is someone who doesn’t know how to play a winning game.

5 Messy Cayla

Being the only Amazing Race woman forced Cayla to forge her own path and actively connect with as many people as possible; she didn’t have a significant voting block alliance to rely on. The second she got in power, Cayla wanted people to walk on the same eggshells she’s been tip-toeing around for weeks. Was gunning after people like Tyson, Kyland, and Angela the smartest move for her game? Probably not. At this point, you want Tyson/Kyland in the game because the difference between having one of them as partners and having a David or Enzo is a colossal gap. Regardless, I enjoyed Cayla stirring the pot as a fan of messy Reality TV.

I was a bit disappointed that she scoffed at the deal Angela pitched to her for mutually assured safety going forward. While the two had not talked much game prior, what Angela was pitching was a pretty good deal that didn’t sound too disingenuous to me.

4 Weirdly Vengeful Dom?

Dom said he wanted to get vengeance on Kyland & Angela for throwing him into elimination. Okay, fine, that would make sense other than the fact that Dom essentially volunteered to go in. James was literally petitioning Dom to back off, hoping he could face Leo in elimination, and Dom would not relent. Nobody finds a way to confuse me more than Dom on this show.

Going after Kyland was a solid play for Dom as he’s unlikely to beat Kyland in anything straight up 1 v. 1, keeps Angela as a possible partner in the Final, and ensures he won’t be on the wrong side of Tyson or the other Survivor men

3 Massive Elimination Upset

Let’s kick off by talking about the giant flaw in this elimination: the trivia questions for the two teams being different, with one side arguably getting slightly easier questions felt wildly unfair. The questions should have been the same on both sides.

Now with that out of the way, let’s give props where they are due. Leo is a smaller guy, but he showed a lot of heart in this elimination by immediately putting Alyssa on his shoulder and finding a strategy that worked best for them. Second, Alyssa showed a ridiculous sense of balance and strength throughout this elimination for their team.

Meanwhile, Kyland & Kyra struggled for multiple reasons. At first, they did not have a proper strategy down on how to lift Kyra. Then, their height/size was an issue where at first, they couldn’t figure out whether she would balance on Kyland’s shoulders or back. Once they got that down, Kyra’s length hampered her as being unable to coordinate her balance with her upper body strength set them back. Even with all the trouble, Kyland & Kyra put 6 answers up first!!! They underperformed in the elimination, Leo & Alyssa beat expectations, and still, Kyland & Kyra had the elimination in the bag physically. Unfortunately, they didn’t know how many times Madonna got married, leading to Leo & Alyssa pulling off the biggest elimination upset this season.

A win like this has to feel good for Leo & Alyssa as they remain in the game and split Kyland’s 12k dollar bank account. The women in the game must be upset over the outcome as Kyland was someone they probably wanted as a partner in the end-game.

2 Kyland & Kyra Are Ready For MTV

As strong of players as Kyland & Kyra were this season, I’m more excited about their potential on the main show. These are two players who are physical threats with good size and have the personality to do well in a more party-like environment. Kyland can be messy and has gotten into a fair share of hook-ups with Reality people off-camera. Kyra is bisexual and has done a few dating shows. Not only are these two threats, but they are also willing to mix it up. Make them locks for Season 39. Sidenote: Kyra is in even better shape now than she was on The Challenge USA.

1 The Algorithm is Broken

CBS said fuck the algorithm; they are over trying to rig specific partner outcomes. Either the players will pick the partners they want to run the rest of the game with, or we are going to an individual format. CBS does not want to see one of their power women go down attached to Enzo, or one of their top guys lose because of Cashay. In all fairness, we don’t want to see a blowout in the Final or see a great player get robbed because of a lousy draw. It’ll be interesting to see where the game goes from here.

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Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.